Longitudinal Study of Bacterial Infectious Agents in a Community of Small Mammals in New Mexico

Goodrich I, McKee C, Kosoy M

Vector-borne bacterial diseases represent a substantial public health burden and rodents have been recognized as important reservoir hosts for many zoonotic pathogens. This study investigates bacterial pathogens in a small mammal community of the southwestern United States of America. A total of 473 samples from 13 wild rodent and 1 lagomorph species were tested for pathogens of public health significance: , , , , spp., and . Three animals were positive for , and one had a novel sp. of the relapsing fever group. No , or infections were detected. prevalence ranged between 0% and 87.5% by animal species, with 74.3% in the predominant and 78% in the second most abundant The mean duration of bacteremia in mark-recaptured and was 4.4 months, ranging from <1 to 18 months, and differed among genogroups. Phylogenetic analysis of the citrate synthase gene () revealed 9 genogroups and 13 subgroups. Seven genogroups clustered with known or previously reported species and strains while two were distant enough to represent new species. We report, for the first time, the detection of in North America in and expand the known host range of to include . This work broadens our knowledge of the hosts and geographic range of bacterial pathogens that could guide future surveillance efforts and improves our understanding of the dynamics of infection in wild small mammals.